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From Latin gyrus, Ancient Greek γῦρος(gûros, circle, ring, turning)



gyre (plural gyres)

  1. a swirling vortex
  2. a circular current, especially a large-scale ocean current
  3. A circular motion, or a circle described by a moving body; a turn or revolution; a circuit.
    • Dryden
      Quick and more quick he spins in giddy gyres.
    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning
      Still expanding and ascending gyres.


  • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, book 2, canto 5, verse 8 (quoted from The Works of Edmund Spenser, volume 3, published 1805):
    But added flame unto his former fire,
    That wel-nigh molt his hart in raging yre:
    Ne thenceforth his approved skill, to ward,
    Or strike, or hurtle rownd in warlike gyre,
  • 1607, anonymous, Lingua, act 1, scene 10:
    First I beheld him houering in the aire,
    And then downe stouping, with a hundred gires:
  • 1666, July 23rd, Samuel Pepys, Diary of Samuel Pepys:
    … and then by coach to St. James's and there with Sir W. Coventry and Sir G. Downing to take the gyre in the Parke.
  • 1919, William Butler Yeats, poem The Second Coming:
    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
  • 1985, May, U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, OTA-O-270, Oil and Gas Technologies for the Arctic and Deepwater, page 59:
    The ice pack north of Prudhoe Bay drifts clockwise with the movement of the Beaufort Sea Gyre. Ice islands, large icebergs which originate from the northern coast of Ellesmere Island, can also be found drifting within the gyre. These ice islands may be 150 feet thick. Ice islands in this gyre may remain there for decades before leaving the Arctic Ocean.



gyre (third-person singular simple present gyres, present participle gyring, simple past and past participle gyred)

  1. (intransitive) to whirl

See also[edit]





  1. vocative singular of gȳrus